Gender Imbalances

For every 100 men who have a college education at age 24, there are there are 148 women, according to a BLS report . Maybe it is time to declare victory and give up on all that affirmative, get rid of the gender police. We overshot the target.

This is an example of why it is dangerous to engineer society. The advocates never go away. Instead a lucrative business grows up with an increasingly entrenched "victim industry" hard at work counting every difference according to their own particular calculus and anathematizing anybody who questions the results. I expect we will have that happening here in a few minutes.

To the extent that we believe college is a good thing, should we not be concerned with a 100/148 ratio? Of course, it varies by discipline. Men still outnumber women in fields that require lots of math, such as hard sciences and engineering. Women outnumber men in fields that require lots of language ability, such as humanities and liberal arts. Is there discrimination at work?

Anybody who has applied for college or graduate schools in the last thirty or forty years knows that schools make special efforts to recruit women and minorities (other than Asians, who have now been de-facto declared "white" for affirmative action purposes. Otherwise many college departments would be non-white majority). So the victim industry looks for other factors. Sometimes these factors are so subtle that they cannot be detected by any actual measure and so much be inferred from numbers. In other words, if the numbers in a particular job or study don't well comport with the numbers the victim industry expects, they infer discrimination.

Using these criteria, we have to infer massive discrimination against males. If we play by the rules of disproportional impact, we should develop goals and plans to get more men into and graduating from universities. I don't think we should really do that, but a good first step might be to stop doing the opposite.

Men and women in general clearly make different choices. You see that in all societies in the world and in all world history. This does not mean that the choices an individual man or individual women can be predicted based only on gender, but it holds for the most part. This is the nature of statistics. The fact that a significant number of women choose and are successful in traditional male fields and that a significant number of men choose and are successful in traditionally female fields indicates that individuals make choices different than their groups and it also indicates that whatever discrimination that exists is not a determining factor.

There is some simple logic involved here. If there are more men/women in one field there must be fewer in another. Would we really expect gender balance in all fields? Even a completely random test will rarely produce the exact expected statistical result. Flip a coin ten times and you are UNLIKELY to produce exactly five heads. Given different choices leading to a non-random process, why would you expect anything like "parity."

Beyond that, why should we assume that choices are poor or good? I have an MA in humanities (history) and an MBA. Over the years my study of the humanities has helped make me happier; although I suppose my studies of business helped me richer. Which is the "right" choice? The first is inhabited mostly by women; the second tends to be dominated by men. Maybe we should make sure that individual rights are respected. Maybe it is better just to let men and women make their own choices, but give up the silly and pernicious idea that the groups we assign them should always be in statistical balance.

Posted by Christine & John at March 15, 2012 7:36 PM
Comment #338267
it is dangerous to engineer society.

Then American men should stop themselves from engineering our society to only suit themselves — the way that men ALWAYS have.

In America, men engineered a society where they’ve always thwarted and tried to set women back. We didn’t even get the right to vote until 1920 — and that only came after a great many women had been jailed and physically abused for years on end simply for marching and picketing for suffrage, and for attempting to vote despite the fact that men had deemed it “illegal” for us to do so.
They’ve engineered a society where a woman has never once held the reins of power as president or vice president (Sorry Sarah Palin running for vice president doesn’t count as a step forward for women since she was only chosen for her looks rather than for her intellect).
They’ve engineered a society where women still only make 76 cents to every male dollar — which amounts to a loss of $650,000 over the course of our working lives.
They’ve engineered a society where men are still controlling our bodies reproductive systems and our sex lives — completely against our wills.
So, if men really are so against “engineering society”, then they can do the right thing: treat women as their equals and step off our rights.

Until then, it really is a joke to talk about “massive discrimination against men” when women still aren’t even paid what men are paid — even for the same work.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 16, 2012 1:59 AM
Comment #338288

deja vu all over again.


Maybe you are bi-sexual? lol. lol. lol.

Posted by: tom humes at March 16, 2012 4:17 PM
Comment #338289

Ah the good old days, when women not only could not own property, they were property.

Adrienne, If not for girlie men, women might still be under the thumb. Yes, there is still the pay issue as well as others, but as C&J will be quick to point out, you can’t expect equality of results.

Perhaps some day we will have a civilized society and women will hold their proper position in the leadership role.

Posted by: jlw at March 16, 2012 4:18 PM
Comment #338293

jlw & Adrienne

Every man and every woman has exactly the same number of ancestors who were male and female. That is one of the things that makes gender different than race.

If your grandfather oppressed my grandmother, does it really make sense for your granddaughter to gain advantages over my grandson because of that?

The interesting thing is that in this case it is exactly the striving for equality of results we are talking about. By the standard civil rights activists often use, there is significant discrimination against men in college.

I am being consistent. I don’t expect equality of results when people are making different choices. I did not advocate affirmative action to correct the imbalance; I simple think that it is obvious that we no longer have to spend time and money to push the opposite.


I am sorry that you are kicked around so much and so badly mistreated. Chrissy doesn’t seem to suffer as much as you do and neither does my daughter. Maybe you should find a different situation.

In fact, Chrissy controlled my reproductive system, pushing me to get a vasectomy. I would not have made that decision if I was on my own.

re 76 cents - this number disappears when you take into account experience and type of education. Unmarried Young women (22 to 30) earn a median $27,000 a year, 8% more than comparable men in the top 366 metropolitan areas.

Marriage and kids tend to hurt women’s earning power, as they tend to choose to stay with the kids. I know it is very unpopular to say this, but it is a choice. I saw that with many of my female “feminist” friends. And is it such a bad thing? Many people hate their jobs and even among those who love them, the day after you retire is the day you are a former …

Some people might think that the measure of a person is their job. I don’t. There is more to life than career and now that I am getting old I see that friends who remained childless have more regrets than we do.

Your experience might be different. That is great. That is why we have different choices and different results.

Posted by: C&J at March 16, 2012 7:24 PM
Post a comment